South African Jewish Museum

Cape Town

You need a photo ID to enter the secure compound that's home to this imaginatively designed museum, which partly occupies the beautifully restored Old Synagogue (1863). The permanent exhibition Hidden Treasures of Japanese Art showcases a collection of exquisite netsuke (carved pieces of ivory and wood). There are also temporary exhibitions that are usually worth seeing.

Your ticket also covers the fascinating 25-minute documentary, Nelson Mandela: A Righteous Man, screened in the building across the courtyard from the museum’s exit. Upstairs, the Cape Town Holocaust Centre packs a lot in with a considerable emotional punch; the history of anti-Semitism is set in a South African context with parallels drawn to the local struggle for freedom. Also take time to view the functioning and beautifully decorated Great Synagogue, a 1905 building in neo-Egyptian style.

Also within the compound is the kosher Café Riteve and a gift shop.

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